Google CEO announces new action plan following Andy Rubin fiasco

Google CEO announces new action plan following Andy Rubin fiasco

Google updates sexual harassment policies following protest

On Friday, Facebook followed Google's lead and announced to employees that it would be ending its policy that required mandatory arbitration for employee sexual harassment claims.

Facebook did not immediately respond to Ars' request for comment.

Google employees will now be able to more freely speak out over issues of sexual harassment at the firm.

Arbitration will now be optional, chief executive Sundar Pichai said in an all-staff email.

Google is also putting the onus on team leaders to tighten the tap on booze at company events, on or off campus, to curtail the potential for drunken misbehaviour.

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Google got caught in the crosshairs two weeks ago after The New York Times detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against the creator of Google's Android software, Andy Rubin.

However, the Tech Workers Coalition, which launched a retaliation hotline for Google employees who participated in last week's protest, says that the new policies don't do enough to protect those temp, vendor and contract workers (TVCs), the report said.

Sabrina Geremia says she feels the walkout, which included workers in Toronto, Montreal and Waterloo, is a "difficult episode", but that she hopes it will become a "watermark" for the industry.

This news, paired with stories about several other men being rewarded for terrible behavior, sparked an internal movement at Google and on November 1, thousands of Google employees around the world walked out of their jobs in protest, demanding change.

Pichai's comments come after the company's controversial attempt to launch a censored search product in China - known as Project Dragonfly - triggered an outcry among employees and USA politicians amid an escalating trade war and concerns over freedom of speech. "It's clear we need to make some changes" said Sunder Pichai in the blog post.

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Several steps will be taken to provide better care for those seeking to make claims, including extended counselling and support for accommodations and company leave.

The global walkout spread to many countries in Europe, North America and Asia, including Britain, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and Google's headquarters in Mountain View in northern California.

Demma Rodriguez, head of equity engineering and a seven-year Google employee, said during the walkout that it was an important part of bringing fairness to the technology colossus.

The Google protest organizers last week demanded an end to forced arbitration, a single system for anonymously reporting harassment and a promise that the chief diversity officer would report directly to the CEO.

"We have the eyes of many companies looking at us", said Tanuja Gupta, one of the walkout's organizers in NY last week.

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Some other demands that were not answered include a commitment to end pay inequity and the appointment of an employee representative to the board of directors.

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